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Humans vs. Wild Animals

Humans share many basic body features with wild animals, since we are animals too. Although the features are similar, there is a wide range of variation as all animals are specialized for their habitat. Polar bears, for example, have much more hair on their bodies then we do because they live in a colder environment.

In this activity, students compare their own anatomical features to those of other animals.

Objectives

  • Compare and contrast the features of humans to other animals.

Materials

Key Questions

  • How is the animal’s body part specialized to maximize their survival (consider their environmental conditions, how and when they obtain food, shelter, defence, reproduction)? For what purpose is the body part specialized?
  • Compare your answers with other teams. Do you agree or disagree with their choices?

What To Do

Preparation:

  1. Print out 3 sets of Human Body Part Cards and laminate them (or glue/print them onto cardstock).
  2. Print out 2 sets of Animal Cards and laminate them (or glue/print them onto cardstock).

Activity:

  1. Divide students into small groups and spread out the groups around the classroom.
  2. Hand out a selection of 8 Animal Cards to each group and give the students a few minutes to get familiar with their animals.
  3. Hand out a selection of 5 Human Body Part Cards to each group. 
  4. Students select a Human Body Part Card then choose an animal(s) that has a comparable body part that is specially suited for the environment and behaviours of that animal. For example, if the Human Body Part Card is an arm, students might select a monkey because they have arms designed for swinging from branches, or a bird whose arms are actually wings that allow it to soar high in the sky, or a killer whale whose “arm” is covered with a fin to help it swim through water.
  5. The students go through each of their Human Body Part Cards and do the same, recording their decisions as they go.

Extensions

  • There are many animals that have specialized body parts (like an elephant’s trunk or a fish's gills). Do the activity backwards, linking specialized animal body parts to similar human body parts.

Other Resources

Science World Resources | Full lesson & other activities | Survival Strategies